my daneo jjang


It’s the second 단어짱! post. What’s that, you ask? Sometimes when I encounter interesting vocabulary words in shows and reading materials, I find it difficult to find their meanings – this new series aims to introduce random, interesting vocab to other self-taught students. I am also happy to answer anyone who submits an interesting, difficult-to-understand Korean word of their own.

Today’s 단어짱!

이쪽커플: gay or lesbian couple

My friend stumbled upon this hashtag on Instagram, and it seems that some members of the Korean LGBTQ community uses this hashtag to identify themselves – for example, on Instagram, mainly self-identified lesbian couples are posting couple selfies under this hashtag. This website defines the term as applicable to and the most commonly used phrase for both gay and lesbian couples.

이쪽: this way, this direction

커플: couple

From the above website, which also introduces other related 용어, or slang terms:

이쪽 : 게이와 레즈비언이 모두 사용하는 용어로 이반과 같은 의미를 가지고 있다. 현재는 이반이라는 용어는 많이 사용하지 않고 ‘이쪽’이라는 용어를 많이 사용한다. ‘이쪽’은 울타리와 같은 의미로 ‘이쪽 사람들’을 찾아 소통하거나 만남을 갖는다.

If you’ve ever paid attention to dialogue in genderswap dramas, you may have noticed that Koreans often use “이쪽” or 그쪽” to indirectly say that they are or are not gay. English has some similarities, where some people might carefully say, “I don’t swing that way,” to say that they’re not hetero- or homosexual, depending on the situation.

Hopefully this 단어짱! post was interesting and helpful! 열공~


지금 재생 중:



스핑 팬픽 – 에피 3: 연기하지 않는 배우

“사랑했어, 널 사랑했다구.” 

오디션 방 뒤 쪽에 서 있는 우연이는 심장이 마비된  듯 꼼짝할 수 없었다. 기정이의 심각한 표정을 바라보며 두근거리는 그의 목소리만 들려왔다. 바로 그 순간에 기정이는 계속 고백을 하고 있었다.

“미친 듯 사랑했어, 항상, 처음부터. 네가 좋았어. 내 맘을 쓰레기 같이 버린 너. 근데 웃긴 거 하나 알려줄까? 쓰레기 같은 내 마음 땜에 아직도 네가 좋아. 말도 안 되지? 나도 이해 안 가. 널 사랑해.” Continue reading

What’s 엽사?

my daneo jjang


This is my first 단어짱! post, so I am excited to introduce my 서울드림 followers to a new blog series as I resume intensive self-study of Korean. I just graduated with a dual undergraduate degree in Korean Studies and International Studies, and I am taking a year off before grad school to work, to write, and to improve my Korean – which means regular 서울드림 posts again! Sorry, 서울드림, my thesis kept me away for too long…

Sometimes when I encounter interesting vocabulary words in shows and reading materials, I find it difficult to find their meanings – this new series aims to introduce random, interesting vocab to other self-taught students. I am also happy to answer anyone who submits an interesting, difficult-to-understand Korean word of their own.

Today’s 단어짱!

엽기사진 (엽사): funny photo

Continue reading

스핑 팬픽 – 에피 2: 내게로 돌아오는 너

합정과 홍대 사이에 있는 분위기가 아주 좋은 레드빅이란 카페에서 그린이 언니를 만나기로 했다. 시험 본 다음 날 우연이는 레드빅으로 걸어 갔다. 남의 대화를 살짝 엿들으면서 그림을 그리려고 갔던 우연이의 단골 카페였다. 먼저 도착한 우연이가 아이스 아메리카노 두잔과 딸기 타르트 한 조각을 시킨 다음에 자리를 잡고 그린이를 기다렸다.


어제 온 문자가 자꾸 떠올라서 잠을 설친 우연이는 기다리며 졸았다. 도대체 누굴까? 스토커였다면 당연히 무서웠겠지만 가족이었다해도 무서웠다. 그림 그리기에 대한 관심을 원래부터 반대하신 엄마까지도 우연이가 유명해진 웹툰을 그리는지 모르셨다. 옛날과 똑같이 우연이는 자신을 말 안 듣는 자식으로 여기시는 엄마 앞에서 조용히 대학을 다니는 척 해야만 했다.


카페에 들어온 그린이가 활짝 웃으며 우연이에게 뛰어왔다. 몇 주 동안 일 때문에 너무나 바빠서 못 본 그린이와 이야기를 즐겁게 나누다가 우연이는 이상한 문자에 대해 설명을 했다.

“아니, 우리 베블한테 누가 감히…!” 그린이는 화가 나서 일어서다가 우연이의 걱정어린 눈으로 흝어보는 모습을 보니 가라앉았다.  차분해진 목소리로 계속했다. “누군지 추측이라도 해볼 수 있니?”

양손으로 잡은 커피 잔으로 눈을 내리깔은 우연이가 낮게 속삭였다.

“사실은…처음에 언니의 남동생인 줄…” Continue reading

Spirit Fingers Fan Fic – 에피 1: 맘에 걸리는 너

스피릿 핑거스 팬픽션

학교 가는 길이 매일매일 막혔다. 아침마다 출근하는 사람들과 아직 잠에서 덜 깬 학생들이 밀려왔기 때문에 지하철과 버스 모두가 불편했지만 자취를 하는 대학생 우연이는 불편하지 않았다. 버스 정류장에서 같이 기다리는 사람들은 평범한 우연이를 잠깐이라도 바라보지 않았다. 대신, 우연이는 다른 사람들을 슬쩍 훔쳐보았다. 아무도 우연이를 쳐다보지 않을 때는 주머니에 넣은 작은 스케치북을 꺼내서 그림 그릴 기회를 재빨리 잡았다.

기다리던 버스가 드디어 오자 수많은 사람들이 내리고 사람들이 벌떼 같이 우르르 몰려들어서 탔다. 우연은 운 좋게 오른쪽에 있는 자리를 잡아 앉았지만 주변 곳곳에 옛날에 익숙한 얼글을 보았다. 처음에 모델, 이제는 배우로도 활동하는, 가장 멋있고 잘난 연예인. 우연이 눈길을 뗐고 스케치북을 쓰다듬었다. 손가락 밑에 이름들이 쓰여 있었다. 한가지만 자꾸 떠올랐다.  


몇 년 전에 친하던 친구. 우연이를 두근거리는 사랑. 이제는 전 남자친구. 이제는 모르는 배우.

가끔은 콘택트렌즈를 착용하는 우연이 오늘은 안경을 쓰고 바로 앞에 앉은 여학생 두 명을 몰래 보면서 그림을 그리고 있었다. 휙휙. 새로운 페이지로 넘기고 다시 그려 보았다. 친구한테 핸드폰으로 뭔가 보여주는 여학생이 갑자기 친구의 손을 움켜잡았다.

“오마이갓. 헐. 허어얼. 이게 뭐야. 드라마로 다시 만들어진다구? 대애애박.” 오른쪽 여학생은 신나서 목소리가 높아졌다. 왼쪽은 조금 더 조용한 목소리로 대답했다.

“그러게. 도대체 작가는 무슨 생각인 걸까? 지금까지 아무도 모르게 이렇게 대박 난 웹툰 썼는데…갑자기 웬 드라마야?” Continue reading

Fan Fiction as Creative Writing in Korean


My final semester of undergrad was filled with research, thesis writing, and numerous academic and side projects that prevented me from blogging consistently – so I went on hiatus from 서울드림. Now that classes are over, I’m about to graduate, and I’m back to intensive self-study of Korean, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve been working on – particularly the creative writing project that I completed for my independent study course for Korean. I plan to become a published author in both English and Korean, so it’s about time I wrote something longer than poems and super short stories.

Side note: if you’re looking for an American university with an awesome Korean language program and opportunities for studying in Korea, check out the University of Michigan. S/o to the best four years of my life.


But new good things await.

My friend and I, both non-Koreans, participated in this independent study at our university in which we had to write nine episodes of a fan fiction story in Korean. The regular course was offered to heritage speakers (Korean-Americans) but we completed the fan fiction portion of the class as upper-intermediate Korean speakers doing an independent project. We both happened to choose webtoons as our inspiring works. We wrote an episode a week – nine episodes total – and uploaded our work to the Korean Language Program’s fan fiction blog where other students could read, rate, and comment if they chose.

But what fun is it if I can’t share my writing with my 서울드림 followers? I can’t promise incredibly eloquent writing or shocking plot twists (I was severely limited by time in creating each episode), but I can promise that it’s a fun, young love-themed read, especially if you’re already a fan of the webtoon 스피릿 핑거스, or Spirit Fingers. Look out for a new post tomorrow and each week after with a new episode!

catch me baby

Come on. Don’t you want to read the original webtoon AND my fan fiction project for this?

Thanks to my awesome boyfriend’s help and comments from my Korean 선생님 who oversaw this independent study project, I can guarantee that the Korean in my fan fiction is mistake-free. If you find a mistake, it’s all my fault. I probably changed something at the last minute and didn’t check it with someone who actually knows Korean.


Here’s what you might want to know about my Spirit Fingers Fan Fiction:

원전/원본의 제목: 스피릿 핑거스 (글과 그림: 한경찰)

원전의 장르: 한국 (네이버) 웹툰 – 로맨틱 코미디

원전의 개요: 송우연은 원래 평범한 여고생이었으나 우연히 “스피릿 핑거스”라는 그림 모임에 들어가게 되고 점점 더 특별한 자기를 알아 가게 된다. 우연은 우연에게 잔소리가 심한 어머니와 사이가 좋지 않고 자신감 없이 공부만 하는 학생이었다. 스피릿 핑거스의 회원인 블루 핑거(구선호)에 빠져 우연은 그림 모임인 스피릿 핑거스에 들어가게 되고 착하고 따뜻한 멤버들과 지내면서 우연의 마음속에 있는 아름다움과 자신감이 조금씩 조금씩 생긴다. 하지만 또 다른 멤버인 민트 핑거(남그린, 남기정의 누나)와 블루 핑거가 서로 좋아하게 되고 쇼핑몰 모델로 활동하는, 뜻 밖의 인물인 레드 핑거(남기정)가 우연에게 빠지는 등 삼각관계가 시작된다.

예: 스피릿 핑거스 – 네이버 웹툰 링크

Fan Fiction Synopsis: 

등장 인물: 송우연 & 남기정


  • 다른 스핑 멤버들: 남그린, 구선호, 핑크 (아줌마), 블랙핑거 (30세쯤), 카키핑거 (20세), 브라운핑거 (40세)
  • 송우연의 친구들: 조미래 (대학생), 염세라 (대학생)
  • 남기정의 친구들: 변태신 (모델/배우)

장르: 로맨틱/코메디 드라마 & 소설

임시 개요: 평범한 여고생이었던 송우연은 우연히 “스피릿 핑거스”라는 그림 모임에 들어가게 되고 특별한 자기 정체성에 대해 알게 되었다. 처음에는 민트 핑거(남그린)가 좋아하는 블루 핑거(구선호)에 빠졌었지만 결국 쇼핑 몰의 모델로 활동을 하는 레드 핑거(남기정)와 비밀스럽게 사귀게 되었다. 기정은 연애 사실을 비밀로 하고 싶어하지 않지만 평범한 디자인 대학에 들어간 우연은 기정이 모델로 유명하게 되자 계속 비밀로 하고 싶어한다..일년 후 둘은 헤어지게 되고 기정은 배우가 된다. 대학을 다니는 우연은 몰래 웹툰을 만든다.. 3년 후, 이 팬픽션의 내용이 시작된다. 4학년생 송우연이 그린 웹툰은 대박이 나고 드라마로 만들어져 드디어 배우가 된 기정을 다시 만나게 된다….왜냐하면 드라마 주인공으로 연기할 사람은 바로 기정이기 때문이다.. 또, 구선호와 남그린도 드라마의 촬영을 돕는 스탭으로 일을 한다! 헤어진 커플 우연과 기정이 과연 어떻게 될까?


Well, until tomorrow, and Episode 1!

방문해 주셔서 감사합니다.


지금 재생 중:

NYC 술집: Specialty Soju & Korean Food at take 31



I don’t usually write blog posts about food, but the yogurt soju and the nurungji soup at take 31 in New York City was so delicious that I can’t help it. take 31 isn’t in Korea Town, but it has a distinctive vibe that brings to mind backstreet bars in Hongdae and cozy restaurants in Hapjeong. Everything from the brick walls to the playlist of mostly K-indie and underground/older hip-hop gives it that perfect late-night on the backstreets of Hongdae feel.


Flavored soju, special makgeolli (Korean rice wine), and a wide selection of other types of alcohol at this 술집 isn’t the only thing that sets it apart. take 31 is literally set apart from Korea Town because it is tucked away on a narrow street a good ten or so minutes away. Amid a chill, youthful atmosphere, it serves a remarkably diverse menu of Korean food, ranging from typical Korean fare like seafood pancakes and pig feet to the amazing nurungji soup that my boyfriend and I ordered.


I had never even heard of 누룽지탕 before and didn’t understand why he started laughing at the menu.

take31 dinner 1201164w.jpg

“누룽지맨하탕?” He laughed before explaining that it was a pun that put Manhattan into the soup’s original Korean name, remaking it into Manhattan-style nurungji soup. The English menu describes it as creamy kimchi stew with crunchy rice, sausages, bacon, broccoli, paprika, and onions. Worried about trying food with a kick? This was barely spicy and felt like a comforting hug that went straight to my belly. Yum.

Image result for 요구르트

A typical Korean 요구르트 drink

We also tried the yogurt soju, which was incredibly refreshing and tasty. The name doesn’t mean yogurt in the general American sense. Have you ever had one of those cute little yogurt drinks from a Korean store? Think of that + iced soju. Again, yum.


Feeling hungry for some 한식 and 소주 yet? Check out the menu in both Korean and English here. This place is slightly pricey, but definitely worth it.

읽어 주셔서 감사합니다! 또 방문해 주시길~


지금 재생 중

TV Shows about Foreigners in Korea


Looking for shows about foreigners in Korea? Trying to improve your Korean by watching fun shows? Look no further. Here are two shows I highly recommend!

Image result for 비정상회담

비정상회담 | Abnormal Summit 

Watch with English subs here.


  • Also known as Non-Summit
  • Talk show/debate format mimicking a UN-style summit
  • Features non-Koreans who are conversational or fluent in Korean
  • Each member represents a different country
  • The summit is headed by three Korean MCs
  • Korean celebrities appear as guests that present a weekly topic, usually social/cultural/personal issues of their own or that are submitted to the show
  • Members vote if the agenda is normal/abnormal and then debate
  • English subtitles easily available
  • Very popular in Korea
  • Many of the original summit members have become foreign celebrities in Korea with CFs and their own businesses

Image result for 비정상회담 cf

If you like watching non-drama shows and are a foreigner, chances are you’ve already heard of this. Abnormal Summit gathers Korean-speaking male foreigners from various countries who are living and working in Korea and engages them in dialogue over cultural differences. Generally, a celebrity guest appears on the show and represents the person who submitted the issue, or they sometimes bring their own problems. The members vote on whether the person is “normal” or “abnormal” and then debate from their respective cultural perspectives.

Naturally, having a single person represent the perspective of, say, all of the United States, or Malaysia, or the UK (shall I go on?), is an enormous simplification. But the show’s concept is fascinating and it is immensely fun to practice Korean by listening to a group of foreigners and three Korean MCs discuss cultural differences and their personal experiences. The foreign members are non-Koreans who are fluent or conversational in Korean. Their pronunciation isn’t always great, and when they make a mistake, all the agony of language-learning suddenly is validated. I’m not the only one who makes mistakes!

Sorry for reveling in the mistakes of others for a moment, but it’s always nice to know you’re not the only one. And if these guys can go on Korean TV and debate difficult cultural conflicts without being fully fluent in Korean, why not you? Why not me? Let’s learn all the Korean! This show has English subtitles available on different sites, so never fear.

This show is comedic much of the time, but also can offer truly intense and in-depth debates and insights on current global issues or national issues, so you won’t just be practicing Korean but also learning about current events.

And yes – only men get to be permanent guests on Abnormal Summit. There was another show, 미녀들의 수다 or “Beautiful Women”, that featured foreign women, but it ended in controversy. What a waste. 미수다 was known by various names like “A Chat with Beauties” or “Global Talk Show” and was fairly popular until its ratings crashed and burned in 2009 when a panelist said that men under 180 cm were losers and she would never date them. Ah, is that so? Great, thanks for ruining the one show featuring foreign women. There was controversy over whether she was forced to say this per a script or if it truly was her opinion, but regardless of the real culprit, the show stopped airing after that.

Image result for 미녀들의수다

But still, can we get a show in this intercultural debate format that features foreigners who speak Korean – but not limit it to only men or only women?



Image result for 글로벌 가족정착기 한국에 산다

글로벌 가족정착기 한국에 산다 | Global Family  

Watch on the EBS site.


  • Documentary-style episodes
  • Each episode or set of episodes focuses on a different mixed couple
  • All episodes available for free on the EBS website
  • Korean subs available but no English subs
  • Not as popular as 비정상회잠
  • Commentator’s 아저씨 voice is fantastic

Global Family is a documentary-style show from EBS that goes into the homes and lives of international couples living in Korea – where one of the couples is native Korean. The other may be from any number of countries ranging from Canada to Ukraine, and the non-Koreans vary in their Korean ability and their years living in Korea. Some are married, some engaged. All the episodes that I have seen address the relationship between the foreign-in-law and their Korean in-laws in a way that challenges the stereotype of fierce in-laws and prejudice against foreign wives or husbands.

Image result for 글로벌 가족정착기 한국에 산다 유크레인

This show is a great way to see the interaction between different cultures in terms of relationships and establishing a family in Korea. For me, it also has become a source of encouragement like Abnormal Summit because while some foreigners are fluent in Korean, others stumble in their pronunciation and make hilarious mistakes on camera – but does that stop them? No!

Nor should you or I stop. We will make mistakes. We will laugh at our mistakes. Learn from them. And move on and make new mistakes but not make the same mistake twice. That’s what shows about foreigners in Korea can teach you. Not just cultural differences and intercultural communication, but being fearless in your efforts to use Korean.

Unfortunately, I don’t know of a site that has this show subtitled in English. The EBS site does offer Korean subtitles, which can help you catch words you don’t hear correctly, and improve your reading along with your listening, but it presents a challenge for Korean-learners who aren’t ready yet for subtitle-less shows. Start with Abnormal Summit, and try out Global Family when you’re ready for more of a challenge!


If you like other shows that feature foreigners speaking Korean, or know of English subs for Global Family, let me know in the comment section below.

읽어 주셔서 감사합니다!


지금 재생 중:

한국어 신조어 줄임말 목록: Easy Korean Slang for Texting


Jk, lmao, lol, omg. English has tons of text talk, and so does Korean. If you’ve been chatting with native Korean speakers via Hellotalk, Italki, or KakaoTalk (if you want to find a language partner, read this post), you may have seen many abbreviations already – but do you know what they mean? Over time, you’ll start to accumulate more and more text-talk acronyms in Korean, but here’s a quick and easy list to get you started on the basics!

  • ㅇㅋ 
    • 오케이 – Okay
  • ㅇㅇ
    • 응/웅 – Yeah, uh-huh (응 is informal whereas 네 and 예 are formal)
  • ㄴㄴ 
    • 노노 – “No” doubled for extra effect. Using just one ‘no’? That’s ㄴㄴ!
  • ㄳㄳ 
    • 감사감사/감사합니다 – Thanks
  • ㅈㅅ 
    • 죄송/죄송합니다 – Sorry
  • ㅇㅈ
    • 인정 – Acknowledged (This can be like saying “Yeah, agreed”)
  • ㅂㅂ
    • 바이바이 – Bye-bye
  • ㄷㄷㄷ 
    • 덜덜 떨다 – Verb phrase for “to tremble all over”. Use when shaking from amazement, fear, the frigid wintry winds…
  • ㅋㅋ
    • 크크/쿡쿡 – Keke (basic text-talk for laughter)
  • ㅎㅎ
    • 흐흐/하하 – Hehe/haha (basic text-talk for laughter)
  • ㅇㄱㄹㅇ
    • 이거 레알 – “This is real.” While it originated as a twist on the Korean spelling of “real” as 리얼, Real Madrid fans took this 신조어 further and now many Koreans use this in place of a sentence like “이거 진짜야!” ㅇㄱㄹㅇ. Don’t believe me?
    • “사용 권장 하는 말은 아니지만요…” Not sure why a show host cautioned usage. If you know why, please leave a comment so I can update this list!


If you’d like to see more list posts, let me know. 오늘도 방문해 주셔서 감사합니다!


지금 재생 중:

The quest for Korean literature


As one of my majors is Korean Studies and I am currently working on a thesis that utilizes literature about or from the critical period of democracy and labor movements in the 1960s through 80s (send help), I have had my fair share of struggling to find source materials. When you’re not in Korea, it can be difficult to get your hands on a copy of a Korean-language book, let alone one in translation. Hard copy? Ebook? At this point, it doesn’t matter what format it takes, as long as it’s readable. Here are my methods for securing that hard-to-find copy of a Korean book I desperately want (or in the case of my thesis, need) to read.  Continue reading